Following nearly two weeks of relentless criticism over a viral video that shows three Dirty Blondes' bouncers battering a patron, owner AJ Yaari has fired the security personnel involved.
In an effort to quell an inferno of outrage, he released a statement late yesterday, vowing to improve the bar's security. He says he'll soon install cameras on the exterior, a project to be completed next week.
"We do not and will not condone these types of actions within the confines of our businesses or anywhere for that matter," Yaari wrote. "As we take swift and calculated measures to move forward, we appreciate the patience of the public, the fairness of the media and support of our city and business leaders."
Talk about a public relations nightmare.
Two of three bouncers -- Arnald Thomas-Darrah, 30, and Jovan Dean, 35 -- face battery charges. Thomas-Darrah was arrested over the weekend, and confessed to his involvement, Fort Lauderdale police say.
Meanwhile, the incident marshaled an incredible social media response, with Facebook group Boycott Dirty Blondes at the helm. It ferreted out scoop after scoop, but came under criticism for disseminating unverified information. (It condemned Jovan Dean for having been charged with domestic battery -- without specifying that those Broward County charges were quickly dismissed.)
Now, Dirty Blondes says it will increase its security by bolstering its forces with more police officers. "Since the security of our patrons and staff is of utmost importance, we have hired additional police detail officers for the immediate future," he said in a statement. "An interview process to determine the retention of an outside security agency will commence next week when the owners return to Florida."
Yaari expressed dismay at the conduct of his bouncers, and said his bar "placed a priority on evaluating [bouncer] training."
Alex Coehlo, 29, and David Parker, 27, have retained lawyers and say they plan to sue the bar. Coehlo, who suffered deep cuts and contusions around his face, has become a sympathetic figure in public opinion.
"I've known Alex for over ten years," friend George Dammous said. "I've been through shit and sunshine with him, and he's in no way a troublemaker. He's a nice guy who keeps to himself and is always there for a friend."
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.